Thursday 21 September 2017

'No staff delays for emergency C-sections', medical hearing is told

Cavan General Hospital. Photo: Lorraine Teevan
Cavan General Hospital. Photo: Lorraine Teevan

Liz Farsaci

An inquiry into the obstetric care of three mothers at Cavan General Hospital heard there has never been delays in securing theatre staff for an emergency caesarean section, said the hospital's general manager.

The Medical Council hearing of consultant obstetrician Dr Salah Aziz Ahmed heard that he will argue there were delays in securing a second theatre for the emergency surgery.

Dr Aziz faces allegations of poor professional performance and professional misconduct relating to the care he provided to the three mothers, who gave birth at the Cavan hospital between 2012 and 2014.

The disciplinary hearing is due to last 10 days. On Thursday, witnesses gave details of the care of a 37-year-old woman, referred to as Patient One, whose baby passed away 32 hours after he was born.

The baby was born by emergency caesarean section on November 22, 2012, and it is alleged that Dr Aziz failed to proceed to the section in a timely manner.

The general manager at Cavan General Hospital, Bridget Clarke, said the death of a baby was "one of the most serious things that can happen in hospital care".

"I want to reiterate my sympathies to the family for the loss of their beautiful baby boy," she added.

Along with one of her colleagues, Ms Clarke made the complaint about Dr Aziz to the Medical Council. On the night of November 22, when Dr Aziz decided that Patient One's baby should be born by caesarean section, another woman was having an elective section in one of the theatres. An additional theatre had to be opened in order to facilitate Patient One's emergency section.

Ms Clarke said she had never experienced a delay in opening an additional theatre, if one was needed in an emergency situation, or in sourcing additional emergency theatre staff.

Dr Aziz and his consultant colleagues wrote to Ms Clarke on November 30, 2012, expressing their concern about finding adequate emergency theatre staff, particularly in after-hours situations when more than one theatre was needed.

The inquiry continues next week, when Dr Aziz will give evidence, and details of the second mother's case are due to be heard.

Irish Independent

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